The vaccines of Hepatitis-B will be available free of cost for newborns in the private hospitals under-immunisation programme after getting the supply from the government on their request.
These vaccines are already given to newborns without any charges in the government-owned health institutions.
The directions have been issued to all civil surgeons to sensitise the private nursing homes and hospitals and seek their regular feedback in this regard.
Further, the health officials have been asked to provide the vaccines to private hospitals in the case of delivery of child. As per the records, during April to October, 2016, around 14,821 deliveries have been recorded in the district out of which, 14, 389 were institutional. In this, 5,782 were registered in the government hospitals while 8,607 deliveries in private.
A health official said that every year, around 1 lakh newborns are found at the risk of getting HBV infection from their mothers due to lack of testing and preventive measures and once a newborn is infected, he or she silently carries the virus in the liver for years. “It later manifests in the form of liver cirrhosis or liver cancer. He said that Hepatitis-B virus is more infectious than HIV (AIDS) virus and it spreads through unsafe injections, unsafe sex, and mother to child during birth and child to child contact, especially with injuries and boils,” he added.
The official informed that the vaccination has the success rate of 99%. “However, private health institutions charge Rs 500- Rs 1,500 for this vaccine depending on the brand,” he added.
District immunisation officer (DIO) Dr Tarsem Singh said that Hepatitis-B vaccination was introduced in the routine immunisation programme of infants in Punjab in 2008. “The district receives around 3,000 vaccines per month, equal to the deliveries and one vaccine is administered to the newborn after birth,” he added.
DIO said that he will talk to the higher authorities about the new directions to offer this vaccine in the private hospitals at free of cost. “Pentavalent vaccines for infants, which are being administered by the government to children aged 6, 10 and 14 weeks, also include Hepatitis B vaccines,” he informed.
Civil surgeon Dr Maninder Minshas said that meeting has been held with private institutions and they have been asked to get the supply of vaccines whenever they need from the department. She added that they have to send a report to the department about the given vaccines.